NOVEMBER 30, 2015


I have a lot to say. I hope you're listening.
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I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was everything you wanted it to be! It’s always great to have a little time to decompress & catch our breath, so I hope you made the most of it & enjoyed the time with family & friends. These next three weeks will be busy & will go quickly!

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Important Information this week!

  • Our Eagle Mountain 25 #5 – Use good manners in the cafeteria and be responsible for picking up your trash.

  • We’re so glad to welcome Andrea back today! She was truly missed!

  • If you have anything that needs to be added to our December calendar, I need it today please.
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  • Our team leaders will meet on Wednesday, so if you have items you’d like added to the team leader agenda, I need those by tomorrow please.

  • If you have not turned in your parent conference schedule please do so this week – I am missing a few. Thanks to those of you who have already turned them in as requested.

  • Please remember to sign your PDAS walk-thru forms electronically as soon as you get them.
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  • Our Teacher Design Team will meet on Friday morning for half a day. Please have Sandra secure a sub for you for Friday morning.

  • PDAS observations are underway & are going well!

  • Next week on Dec. 9th the media will be here to interview some of our Liink teachers about the Liink program.

  • Please have your students check the Lost & Found by the end of next week

  • We will start scheduling your Mini-Rise presentations next week.


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  • Congrats to our GenTx door winners who went ALL OUT in decorating their doors: 1st place: Danielle Adama, 2nd place: Regina, 3rd place: Candice Martin & or Honorable Mentions were: Tie for first place – Jennifer DeCorte & Chase Pettit, 2nd place – Dedra Jones, 3rd place – Hope Howell, 4th place – Cathy Wells & 5th place – Kelli Shipp. I can’t believe I didn’t place! J (KIDDING!) There were some awesome doors & the kids had a tough time judging but were impressed with everyone’s!
  • Kelli & I will spoil you a little bit for Christmas beginning next week with our “Reindeer Days”, so get ready for a little fun over the next few weeks as we get into the Christmas spirit!



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Effective Questioning: PLAN 5

By Dutchess Maye

In our work with thousands of K–12 educators, eduConsulting Firm documented that teachers ask an average of 50 questions during a 55-minute period—equating to almost a question a minute. When considering these numbers, it is safe to conclude that students may not have sufficient time to process the questions asked. However, the typical questions teachers are asking require very little response time, as they only warrant one-word or yes-or-no responses. To increase student engagement and promote high levels of academic rigor, we encourage both teachers and students to use the PLAN 5 strategy—that is, to generate five rigorous, highly cognitive, open-ended questions per class period!

Teacher-Generated Questions

Teachers who plan carefully crafted questions get deeper, more thoughtful responses. For example, when teachers revise closed questions such as What is the setting of the novel? and What is the Quartering Act? to much more open-ended versions like How does the setting of the novel impact the character’s mood? and Why did the Quartering Act make the colonists so angry?, student engagement increases significantly, resulting in more in-depth discussions laced with content-specific examples and improved textual support. Additionally, the phrasing of the latter questions lends itself to greater student competency by implying that students already understand such concepts as setting, mood, characterization, the Quartering Act, and the political context of the American Revolution. The following graphic can help teachers determine if their questions are, indeed, open ended.

Three additional methods for planning five rigorous, highly cognitive, open-ended questions include the following:

  1. Posing the answer and asking students to justify it with proof from a supporting text, class notes, and prior knowledge varies learning outcomes. For example, the closed question Is honey a liquid? could easily be revised to How do we know that honey is a viscous liquid? This revision not only promotes student competence by giving them the answer but also requires a higher cognitive process to prove the question’s inherent validity.
  2. Focusing on the processes required for obtaining the answer rather than simply focusing on the answer itself is an effective means of assessing student understanding. For example, the question Can 4/8 be reduced? could be revised to promote higher critical thinking: We know 4/8 can be simplified. What do we need to do? More important than the answer is ensuring that students know how to obtain it.
  3. Presenting questions that explore opposites, differences, and exceptions requires students to demonstrate sophisticated understanding of learned concepts. For example, the question What makes a good story? is a great open-ended question but could be revised for maximum impact by focusing on differences. A possible revision for the question could be Which of these two story openings do you prefer and why? This version remains open ended, requires students to employ the evaluative cognitive domain, and embeds opportunities to compare and contrast texts.

The entire intent of the PLAN 5 strategy rests in the planning. Teachers are encouraged to ask a thousand questions but plan five rigorous, highly cognitive, open-ended questions that facilitate student thinking beyond one-word or yes-or-no responses.

Student-Generated Questions

Through eduCoaching, we have observed countless teachers who are posing all of the questions and, thus, doing all of the thinking. Generating thoughtful questions that facilitate high levels of thinking and foster engaging discussions is an intensely creative process, ranking as one of the highest skills on the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students can benefit from the range of cognitive engagement that is cultivated by generating questions of their own. Questions require the inquirer to demonstrate complex levels of conceptual understanding about the content. The more thoughtful and intentional the question, the more the individual exhibits his attentiveness to and participation in learning new content.

Students can use the PLAN 5 strategy to evaluate the effectiveness of their own open-ended questions. Introducing students to different types of questions not only prepares them to generate more powerful questions but also preps them to answer questions purposefully, increases intentional responses on assessments, and facilitates college and career readiness. Providing students with tools such as Bloom’s Question Stems will equip them to formulate questions intentionally and deliberately. Asking students to generate questions using stems from specific categories (e.g., comprehend, analyze, and evaluate) will scaffold learning, require thoughtfulness about the inquiry intentions, and add personalized depth to content acquisition. Opportunities that allow students to plan, ask, and answer five questions with their peers create collaborative learning environments in which students are active and accountable participants in their learning.

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5th WEEK – SKYPE WITH ELKINS - By the end of the week you will get an email from me with the teacher from Elkins you will be Skyping with. You will need to email them and set up a time to Skype. You will need to schedule the Skype sometime next week. Let me know the date and time you will be Skyping.

7th WEEK - SKYPE OUTSIDE THE DISTRICT - We will be looking outside the district to find our next Skype Adventure. You might have a friend that teaches in another district or state, contact them and try to Skype with their class. If you have no friends, you can connect with someone from the Skype in the Classroom website.

9th WEEK - Mini-Rise coming in January - you've already been given the questions.

You may begin scheduling with us next week.

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Monday – PLC’s meet

Tuesday – Fire-drill in the afternoon

Wednesday – Happy Birthday to Shelly Couch, Team Leader meeting – 3PM

Thursday – R-time for grades 2-5, Kelli is at an AP meeting this morning, UIL Tryouts

Friday – Design Team meets this morning, Kelli is out today attending a convention

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  • Hats off to Madeline Tittle, Kim Meadows, Lynnette Darden, Cindy Griggs, & Catherine Massie for putting together the Thanksgiving Feast & parent program. We enjoyed it very much.

  • I’d like to give a BIG shout out to our Wonderful Beth Carpenter who does so much for EME! She takes pride in our building, jumps in to help WHEREVER she is needed & has such a positive, upbeat attitude. Beth sees the good in everyone! We also appreciate Lissette who also does a great job of keeping our building clean.
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